Rob Pokalsky's letter regarding abortion protesters (The Mail, July 5) sounded so rational that it would probably never occur to anyone that it might not be true, especially since the protesters call themselves Christian.

I would invite anyone with doubt or curiosity to come watch their tactics some Saturday morning. Had you been there on a recent Saturday, you would have heard them blasting the following messages through a megaphone: To a mother carrying a 6-month-old: "They have killed children as big as the baby in your carrier!" To a mother with a 7-year-old: "Don't take that child in there. Planned Parenthood murders children in cold blood!"

To a young couple: "Keep your dignity. Keep your legs crossed and say no!" To another couple: "He doesn't love you; he only wants your body." To another: "If he were a real man, he would marry you." How do the protesters know who is single and who is married? They often warn patients not to let the "lesbian" escorts come near them.

Mr. Pokalsky said: "The main purpose of our presence as pro-lifers is to offer information." If that were the case, they wouldn't want to anger, humiliate, or intimidate patients, would they? Yet this is what they've been doing for the 12 years I've been escorting patients into the clinic.

What protesters won't admit is that they deplore all forms of birth control. They pretend they are protesting abortions when in reality they want nothing to interfere with conception. Ergo, whatever they can say or do to scare patients away from health care is acceptable. This is what the pro-lifers call "counseling," yet it serves only to make the protesters feel righteous.

Sylvia Rose, Pelham Road, Brighton


Our country is slowly learning the very hard way that invading other countries in blind retaliation to terrorist action is a very ineffective and expensive response. Israel's response to the kidnapping of two soldiers falls into the same category. Many people are dying, a country is being destroyed, but basic problems, rather than being solved, have been greatly exacerbated.

In Afghanistan and Iraq our armies, in spite of having high-tech "smart" weapons, have killed many more civilians than soldiers. The situation in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict is even worse. The "murdering" Hezbollah, without the "smart" weapons, has been able to kill significantly more Israeli soldiers than Israeli civilians. On the other hand, the Israeli army, with all its high-tech weapons, has killed more than 10 times as many innocent Lebanese civilians than it has killed its professed targets, the Hezbollah "terrorists." This great difference in the target deaths makes one question the motives of Israel in this conflict.

DaanZwick, Rochester


It was truly satisfying to read Paul Goldberg's letter, "Hezbollah's the Murderer" (The Mail, August 9). It is long past the time for our US media to shed itself of its rigid far-left stance.

With Goldberg's letter and "Children of the Incarcerated" (August 9) you have brought me back to City --- for the time being.

Doris Smith Naundorf, PictureBookPark, West Bloomfield


I subscribe to everything Paul Goldberg said, and I commend you for posting his letter ("Hezbollah's the Murderer," The Mail, August 9).

A few days ago, there appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle's Letters to the Editor section a piece from some lady repeating the usual trite arguments about Palestinian victim-hood, the refusal of Israel to deal with Hamas (which has "generously" offered to recognize the right of Israel to exist without mentioning the condition that Israel commit suicide by allowing the 3 to 4 million Palestinian refugees to return), and, naturally, the canard that all Israel has to do is withdraw to the so-called pre-1967 borders and all will be peachy.

The "occupied territories" is one of the most enduring myths of the Middle East, and the Palestinians' return is simply a smokescreen meant to hide the desire to destroy Israel.

But let me come to what I think motivates you and other liberals vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict and all other issues. It is not compassion for the poor, desire for justice, love of humanity, but, plain and simply, hatred for George W. Bush and his administration, and their pro-Israeli stance. You are in danger of surrendering total control of the Democratic Party to a kook fringe of hate-mongers.

It is this hatred that blinds liberals and leads them to gloat over the primary defeat of an honest and stalwart Democrat like Joe Lieberman, side with a raving lunatic like the current president of Iran, justify the wanton slaughter of 3,000 innocents by the exponents of a bankrupt ideology that only the accident of oil wealth has given the means to lash out in frustration at the West, and call "freedom fighters" the hideous criminals of Hezbollah, led by a sheik who expresses the vilest anti-Semitic rhetoric, while turning your nose up at the only democracy, Israel, in that part of the world. Who do you think is going to make you wear a burka if they win? Olmert or Nasrallah?

Italo G. Savella, FernwoodPark, Rochester

Mary Anna Towler's response: Oh, my goodness. If you can find examples of my siding with Ahmadinejad or justifying the tragedy of 9/11, do send 'em to me. And there's a difference between endorsing terrorists' actions and viewing them in the context of history and current policies. Little that happens in the Middle East happens in isolation, much as the Bush administration believes otherwise.

I didn't gloat over Lieberman's defeat, but I believe he's been wrong on many issues. And like others who are concerned about where the Bush administration is leading us, I hoped that Lieberman would lose the primary and hold the same hope for November.

Finally: not turning my nose up at Israel doesn't preclude my questioning some of its actions, which this newspaper has done (and did so long before the Bush presidency).


I am embarrassed to watch Congressman Tom Reynolds' campaign ad in favor of weakening environmental protection laws and regulations in order to get jobs. What we need are good-paying jobs that are environmentally sensitive to the water, air, and soil. But Reynolds would be happy to weaken or eliminate the environmental protections people worked very hard for in the 1970's, such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

Reynolds does not tell us the truth: that he is a right-wing neoconservative with an over 90 percent approval rating from the very conservative American Conservative Union. He is part of the same thinking as the gang in DC, which would, if it could, eliminate all environmental protections, laws, and regulations. He is Ann Coulter in a suit and tie.

More embarrassing yet is that he will win re-election in a moderate district where most people do not know what he really stands for.

Stewart Epstein, Westside Drive, Rochester


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